By Jay Preston,

If you live in an older house, there is a tendency for the builder to have been fairly conservative, maybe even a little boring.

Not the entire house, of course, but some of it anyway. The nice thing about older homes is that they are open to interpretation, remodeling, updates and changes. They are often more unique; not the so-called cookie-cutter homes in many of the newer, sprawling growth around most towns and cities.

But alas, they can still be a bit boring. That was the case with my front entryway and my foyer. This is the part of the house that is supposed to be welcoming, interesting and inviting—but not to invite guests to yawn and want to take a nap.

That is not to say that it needs to be overly busy and distracting; just nice and inviting. The way  we did this for our home was by adding some color and some architectural detail. The room was plain white. The walls were white and the trim was white. The floor was boring brown parquet. The only cool detail of the space was a little beaded crystal overhead light, which we liked and left.

We had to remove the baseboards in order to do so, but that was okay because we wanted to use wider baseboards anyway. We then bought some sheets of bead board at our favorite local home improvement store. I cut the sheets in half and ripped them so I had a few 3 x 4 sheets of material to use as wainscoting. I primed the sheets before putting them on the wall because it is easier, I think, to paint them while they are flat on the workbench, rather than vertical on the wall. I attached the bead board along the length of the wall and also ripped some to fit under the last tread of the stairs that ran along one side of the room. The house has a raised living room off of the foyer. This was just a little detail that I added; nobody will ever notice except for me, I’m sure.

I attached the bead board using a pneumatic nail gun, trim nails and a little bit of construction adhesive. The construction adhesive should not be used if you think you will ever remove the wainscoting, because it will destroy the drywall if you try to remove it. Just keep that in mind. After the bead board was installed, I picked out some chair rail  I liked and added it to the top of the paneling. I then installed my flooring, which was just a continuation of a wood floor that I had used in the adjoining room. The flooring turned this into a project that was more than just one weekend, but without the floor having to be changed, this could easily be done over a weekend.

I then added a nice six inch wide baseboard around the room to pull it all together. Once the baseboard was installed, it was just a matter of caulking any gaps and painting the room. I painted the panels and trim bright white and the walls a nice canary yellow. It really brightened up the room and made it a more cheery place to enter the house. We added an accent table and mirror on the wall as well as a place to hang coats in the wintertime, and the room was complete. It is much brighter and a much more inviting place to come home to every evening.

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